Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shards of Honour (Vorkosigan Saga, #1)” as Want to Read:
Shards of Honour  (Vorkosigan Saga, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Shards of Honour (Vorkosigan Saga (Publication) #1)

by
4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  12,235 ratings  ·  651 reviews
When Cordelia Naismith and her survey crew are attacked by a renegade group from Barrayar, she is taken prisoner by Aral Vorkosigan, commander of the Barrayan ship that has been taken over by an ambitious and ruthless crew member. Aral and Cordelia survive countless mishaps while their mutual admiration and even stronger feelings emerge. A science fiction romance by a Hugo ...more
Paperback, 253 pages
Published December 1st 2003 by Earthlight (first published June 1986)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Shards of Honour, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Kristin
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsDivergent by Veronica RothThe Host by Stephenie MeyerThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodUglies by Scott Westerfeld
Best Science Fiction With a Female Protagonist
9th out of 596 books — 1,587 voters
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinOld Man's War by John ScalziThe Forever War by Joe HaldemanOn Basilisk Station by David Weber
Military Science Fiction
10th out of 539 books — 687 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
mark monday
Cordelia Naismith is the captain of an astronomical survey ship from the peaceful Beta Colony. Lord Aral Vorkosigan is the leader of a secret military mission from the warlike planet Barrayar. the title "Shards of Honor" no doubt refers to the small bits of honor that Aral must cling to as he finds himself a central figure in a massive undertaking that will sacrifice thousands of innocents for the greater good; it also may refer to the honor that Cordelia herself gains and loses and gains again ...more
karen
okay, so let me just say that i was totally dreading this book.

i promised some of the ladies in my online life that i would "read more fantasy" and this was suggested, even though this is more sci-fi/space opera to my untrained eyes, yeah?? i mean - where are my unicorns!? just one token unicorn will do!

this cover's got spaceships on it, and laser beams and futuristic clothing, and that is just not appealing to me, as a reader. i look at books like this, and i feel like the author probably will
...more
Joel
Mar 18, 2011 Joel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joel by: Elizabeth
What happened? What are these sensible, mature adults doing in the middle of my space opera? Where are the hot-headed, brash heroes? Where is the sass-mouthed young princess? WHERE ARE THE ROBOTS AND ALIENS?

This is not your father's science-fiction novel. But it might be your mother's. I don't mean that in a sexist or dismissive way, but reading this book felt more like reading a romance than it did a sci-fi book. I don't mean a bodice-ripping (space bodice!) romance, but a realistic, measured a
...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Be warned: the jacket blurb describes only a minor portion of the story.

My version, you ask?

*************************************************

Love in the background of space opera! Female captain leads research team investigating exotic planet. Expedition is attacked and a researcher is killed. Hostile man takes woman prisoner, and they fall in love while death-marching across alien planet. Alas! Woman and man are soon to be adversaries in an interstellar war, and are torn apart by loyalties to t
...more
Tatiana
Jan 01, 2012 Tatiana rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: read Le Guin's "Four Ways to Forgiveness" instead
Maybe one is spoiled for sci-fi forever after reading Ursula K. Le Guin? Maybe Le Guin is as good as it gets? Because Lois McMaster Bujold is supposed to be one of the best sci-fi writers, Hugo-awarded, etc., and yet, I don't see anything of note in this sample of her work.

Shards of Honour is painfully reminiscent of Maria V. Snyder's later books (anything written after Poison Study really). In a way that this novel has a promising plot, but is suffocated by the superficiality and blandness of
...more
new_user
Apr 03, 2010 new_user rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to new_user by: Sandra
I really enjoyed Shards of Honor. Though Lois McMaster Bujold's writing is a little more sparing with emotion than I generally enjoy, she's concise while eloquent and provides evidence for her claims. When she wants to convey that Lord Vorkosigan is honorable, she lets him demonstrate in deed or gesture, as I'm sure Vorkosigan would prefer. ;)

This first entry in the Vorkosigan Saga is unique among novels because both the plot and characters are strong. Shards begins as kind of a survivor romance
...more
Natalie
I read this in line for a ticket to Dragon*con last year. Thus began the Autumn When Miles Vorkosigan Ate My Brain.
Clouds

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.

I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go.


Somehow, Shards of Honor didn’t hit the sweet
...more
Stephen
4.0 to 4.5 stars. This is the first book in the phenomenal Vorkosigan Saga and concerns the first meeting and ensuing relationship of Miles' parents, Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith. I thought this was one of the more important installments in so far as it explores the mutual respect and love between Aral and Cordelia and provides some background on the extraordinary people so critical to the life of Miles Vorkosigan. Highly recommended for all fans of the Miles books.
David Sven
I would probably call this Space Opera lite. I mean it is set in the far future where humans have colonised planets, have wormhole technology, and wage war with each other in space battleships. So there’s space battles, plenty of political intrigue, as well as encounters on strange planets with strange animals, like aerial jellyfish that will suck your face off as it feeds on your blood. But ultimately, all that is mere background and props for what is essentially a love story between two people ...more
Jim
I read this when it first came out & kept up with the series, but have now started listening to them as audio books in chronological order. In the Vorkosigan universe, this is the second novel (Dreamweaver's Dilemma, a short story is first, for now.) & takes place after Falling Free with entirely different characters & setting. This has the effect of putting two dots into the mural of a very interesting universe that Bujold eventually fills in over more than a dozen books & stori ...more
Kathleen
I listened to the Blackstone Audio app. The narration is decent, but not outstanding. A pleasant male voice, probably a baritone. Given the 3rd-person POV was mainly the heroine's, a female voice would have served better, IMO.

3.5 stars for this space opera / romance, written under the guise of sci-fi, even though there is very little scientific innovation beyond the odd species in the opening chapters -- big bloodsucking balloon-like creatures, and some novel carnivores and herbivores. Of cours
...more
Allison
Honestly, I'm fairly new to the world of Sci Fi, although I'm a huge Fantasy fan (why are these two so often lumped together? They're completely different genres!). Strangely, I've been more into Sci Fi on the screen than in books - Star Trek, Farscape, etc. So I decided to try out the Vorkosigan Saga because it seems like a pretty big one, and one that's not hardcore because I don't know if I'm ready for that.

I'm still not sure what I think. This was a decent start to a long series. It took so
...more
Nikki
I liked Shards of Honour more than I did the first time I read it, even though I'm sticking with my original three star rating. It's fun, and this time I did get more wrapped up in it, in following the politics and in following Cordelia and Aral as they get to know each other. I still don't quite get the enthusiasm over the whole series, but I've heard at least a dozen times that I'll get along better with the Miles books.

Still, I got along pretty well with this one. The concept of honour is a t
...more
Alex Ristea
This is the longest short book I have ever read.

Shards of Honor is a fun, easy military sci-fi with well-crafted scenes, though severely lacking on the “awesome” factor. I’m surprised how slowly the book moves for how short it is.

The story plods around with no real sense of urgency, which didn’t bother me as much as it should have. Luckily it was only an eight hour audiobook though, because any longer and I think I would have given up.

In many ways, this novel is a giant character set up for the
...more
Nikki
I have to review this using my iPod, since my computer can't currently post reviews from my browsers, so pardon me if this is a little brief. I'll come back and add more, perhaps, when/if the bug is fixed.

I've been meaning to read Bujold's books for a while. Everyone has sung her praises, it seems -- though there hasn't been a reliable consensus on which book to start with, Cordelia or Miles, so I finally plumped for doing things chronologically. I'm told the later books are higher quality, but
...more
Lightreads
First book in the Vorkosigan series. Cordelia Naismith, high-tech surveyer, meets and becomes romantically and politically entangled with a controversial military officer from the backward planet of Barrayar.

Hmm. First time through I found this book divertingly readable but ultimately clumsy. Second verse, same as the first. The romance interested me more this time, I think because I was in a better frame of mind to accept the way it happens in that sudden, regency romance way. I still winced wh
...more
Jaylia3
Count me as someone unashamed to read YA, but one of but one of the things I love best about this multi-planet, clashing cultures, space opera is that its main character is a mature, take-it-as-it-comes thirty-something not an excitable, inexperienced sixteen. Cordelia Naismith is the captain of a survey ship from the peaceable, democratic Beta Colony, where the climate is harsh and desert-like. Her expedition is attacked by a military group from the warlike Barrayar planet which is lush with ve ...more
Laurel
As usual, Lois McMaster Bujold has created a phenomenal work! I had started with Warrior's Apprentice, and was unsure I would want to go back and read about Miles' parents. I'm so glad I did. Their relationship is beautifully written, and the last chapter of the novel is simply genius! What a great book!

First read December 2010

Re-read March 2014
Ben Babcock
The Vorkosigan Saga is one of those series I’ve been meaning to read for a while. And, in fact, I read Cryoburn last year for the Hugo Awards voting. Going back to the beginning and reading the series in order has been a task long overdue, so let’s get this party started.

I love space opera. Technically speaking, Shards of Honour and its sequel, Barrayar, which I read in omnibus form, is probably more planetary romance. It is the first of a two part story of Cordelia Naismith falling in love not
...more
Apatt
Lois McMaster Bujold is an author I have been meaning to read for the longest time, she has won so many major sf awards it is clear that she must be some kind of major talent in the field. However it took me years and years to get around to picking up one off her books simply because the synopsis of her Vorkosigan series never seem all that interesting to me. Fortunately for me Lois has graciously decided to make most of her Vorkosigan books available for FREE in digital formats on her publisher ...more
Charlie George
Far less well written than Bujold is capable of. Don't get me wrong, there were some fine character moments, especially early on, while Cordelia and Aral were first getting to know one another. But much of the latter half of the story felt meandering, as though she was trying to meet a contractual obligation or didn't know how to connect to later story elements.

I hate to say these things about such a fine author as Bujold, whose fantasy is truly outstanding for the genre. This book, on the othe
...more
Chance Maree

I'm glad I didn't know this was a sci/fi space opera romance novel, for those are stories I'd normally avoid. The beginning hook worked quite well -- a team of survey scientists from a peaceful/liberal world are exploring native lifeforms on a new planet when they are attacked by foes from a military/dictator society. During a brief Survivor-like episode, the two main characters fall in love in a slow, back-burner simmering way with a thankful lack of bodice ripping and pec flexing. Flying vampi
...more
Pamela Lloyd
Jun 10, 2008 Pamela Lloyd rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shards of Honor is Bujold's first published novel and the first in a long series of novels, if I can claim that it, along with Barrayar, are part of her Miles Vorkosigan series. (The main characters in these two novels are Miles' parents.) Generally, they fall into the category of space opera, but frankly, they transcend the genre.

I am rereading this book for the umpty-umph time. There are very few books, except those by Bujold, that I reread more than once or twice; many, of course, I never pi
...more
Anders
Feb 18, 2013 Anders rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of space opera, humorous sff
Recommended to Anders by: sffworld.com
Shelves: science-fiction
Shards of Honor is the first book in the large Vorkosigan Saga, a space opera series that includes political intrigue, military campaigns, and a fair dose of humor, in a future where humanity have made several far space colonies.

The story is set before the birth of the main protagonist of the series, Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, and it follows his parents, through the eyes of his mother, Cordelia Naismith. It is a time of war between worlds, and Cordelia who is a captain of an Astronomical Survey
...more
Lilia Ford
Initial Reaction: Best Book Ever. 272 stars (with one subtracted due to lack of sex scenes.)

Added after finishing first five books in the series: Please forgive the review self-plagiarism, but the following applies to all the books I've read in the series. So here it is:

I think Bujold is the best Sci-Fi writer I've ever had the pleasure to read, NO QUESTION. I found no weaknesses here but I will put in a special word for her absolutely superlative plotting. I also deeply respected the author's
...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Being a big fan of Lois McMaster Bujold's fantasy works, I recently decided to give her science fiction a try, starting with, of course, the first book of her Vorkosigan series Shards of Honor. It's most definitely a space opera if I've ever seen one, but I don't use that term pejoratively. I still think I prefer her fantasy, but this was great nonetheless.

As usual, Bujold shines at writing strong female protagonists, but I also very much enjoy the characterizations of her male leads. Aral Vork
...more
Michael
The solid and pleasurable beginning of the Vorkosigan series of space opera novels. Aral and Cordelia end up getting marooned after his mutinous troops from semi-feudal world Barrayar attack her biological survey crew from the more liberal, enlightened Beta Colony. During their long dangerous trek to a supply cache, they come to respect each other’s adherence to honor, despite vast cultural differences. As they return to a situation where their planets engage in a politically manipulated war, th ...more
Siria
My first reading of Bujold was enjoyable, but I have to say that there was nothing in it which really hooked me. The prose was clear and competent, but the two main characters, Cordelia Naismith and Aral Vorkosigan, never really came alive for me—Cordelia was just that little bit flat, and Vorkosigan was a little too much of a cipher. I am curious to see where she's going to go with this, though (since I am right in thinking that this is essentially a prequel to the major action of this universe ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
SciFi and Fantasy...: October Science Fiction Selection: Shards of Honor 21 74 Oct 27, 2014 03:24PM  
Flights of Fantasy: April 2014 - Sci-Fi: Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold 32 59 Apr 29, 2014 07:37PM  
Sci Fi Aficionados: Shards of Honour 43 92 Apr 25, 2014 10:20AM  
What book to read next? 4 78 Mar 17, 2014 11:40AM  
She-Geeks: The Vorkosigan Saga 11 35 Mar 14, 2013 10:28AM  
Goodreads Librari...: This book does not actually exist 4 54 Feb 18, 2013 08:19PM  
  • Conflict of Honors (Liaden Universe, #8)
  • Primary Inversion (Saga of the Skolian Empire, #1)
  • Field of Dishonor (Honor Harrington, #4)
  • Victory Conditions (Vatta's War, #5)
  • Valor's Choice (Confederation #1)
  • Honor's Knight (Paradox, #2)
16094
Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children.

Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen Books features the perennially bestse
...more
More about Lois McMaster Bujold...
The Curse of Chalion (Chalion, #1) Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7) The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2) Paladin of Souls (Chalion, #2) The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga, #6)

Share This Book

“I've always thought tests are a gift. And great tests are a great gift. To fail the test is a misfortune. But to refuse the test is to refuse the gift, and something worse, more irrevocable, than misfortune.” 115 likes
“The real unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, without anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future.

But the crimes they hope to prevent in that future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present - they are real.”
65 likes
More quotes…